> Acts of Remembering

Ebb & Flow

Ben K. C. Laksana (Indonesia)

I remember the day when my dad died, a cool September evening. I remember picking up a phone call from my sobbing brother. I remember where I was, too far from those that I love. I remember coming home, too late to do anything. I remember the look of shock, that I wish I hadn’t seen. I remember seeing my dad laid to rest in a coffin, calm in a sea of confusion and sorrow. Wailing tears of regret. But I do not remember much after that.

My memories of lost have become broken fragments, that may perhaps be a refusal to remember. They are patchy, suppressed parts of the past especially the memories that were built at the strike of grief. They come and go as they please. Arising at times in mundane, dull moments and dissipating as it wishes, seldom at the moment that we hope for. Rarely giving rest to the heart and mind, even when years have passed. At times I’m fixated on a certain memory of my dad that arises from grief, a memory love, of anger, of regret, a tinge of happiness, but also rushing through this sweep of memories, both evoking shattering emotions that arrests the day. Leaving me with the struggles of reconciliation with the self. Grief is an attachment that I have yet learn to fully let go, grief is nauseating, grief is numbing, it is haunting, it is confusing and to look into it, struggling to make sense of it, is soul breaking. And all this is simply a part of life.

Ebb & flow is an attempt to simulate the erratic, patchy memories and experiences of life that has been permeated by grief. How the flow of life is constantly constructed and reconstructed through my memories, my experiences of grief and at many times my fear of losing your loved ones. As they say, this is the price we pay for loving and for living.


Ben K. C. Laksana is a Ph.D. student at Victoria University of Wellington, with a focus in the intersection between sociology, education, youth and activism. He works as a researcher and educator and has worked with various international and local organizations in Indonesia. As a Southern scholar and educator, he is heavily influenced by Freirean approaches to education and is passionate and active in challenging dominant and oppressive narratives through critical education. He is also the co-founder of Arkademy Project, an organization that focuses on using photography as critical pedagogy by critically engaging the public in social issues through the use of photo images.